TRUCK CO2 standards 26/10/18

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September 2018

EU lawmakers are currently considering the European Commission’s first attempt to regulate heavy-duty vehicle CO2 emissions. But a debate is now raging about how strict those cuts should be and how soon they should be enforced.

Carbon dioxide emissions from heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) must fall by 15% by 2025, according to the Commission proposal, published in May. It also includes a non-binding 30% CO2 reduction target for 2030.

Members of the European Parliament are now deliberating over a draft report, which would increase those benchmarks to 20% and 45%, respectively.  Some political groups in the assembly are pushing for even higher targets and EU countries like the Netherlands, France and Luxembourg all want long-term goals put in place.

Manufacturers are still dubious about whether the 2025 binding target is actually achievable or not. The Volvo Group’s environmental affairs chief, Rolf Willkrans, insisted that truck designs and tech for seven years time are already finalised.  But the head of road transport at the European Commission’s climate directorate, Alexandre Paquot, dismissed those fears, explaining that the EU executive’s modelling was based “on a detailed analysis” and that the 15% target was “feasible in 2025 with existing technology”.  This has not stopped members of the industry proposing a 7% target instead, ahead of a more concerted effort towards the end of the decade, once buying cycles ramp up again and the market responds to the new technology.

Regulating the heavy-duty sector is set to get a shot in the arm next year, according to Paquot, who confirmed that the Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool (VECTO) will be ready in 2019.  VECTO is a simulation tool that is meant to accurately simulate carbon emissions from heavy-duty vehicles and will be essential if plans to introduce road pricing based on pollution are to come to fruition.  Such a polluter-pays model was supported by the head of service provider Vos Logistics, Frank Verhoeven, whose company boasts a fleet of over 1,000 heavy vehicles.